April 30, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou baseball team used a wild nine-run sixth inning to top No. 6 Texas A&M, 9-1, on Saturday (April 30) in game two of a three-game series at Taylor Stadium. Mizzou was led by sophomore Blake Brown, who went 3-5 with a five RBI, a run scored and a home run, and junior starter Matt Stites, who went 8.0 innings while scattering just six hits and striking out eight. He earned the win in the contest as it is his second-straight win in Big 12 play after earning his first Big 12 win at Baylor last Friday.
The win improves the Tigers to 19-24 on the season and 6-10 in Big 12 play. It is also the Tigers' third win over a top-10 opponent this season and marks the second consecutive Big 12 series win for Mizzou, which has now won four its last five league games. The Tigers scored all nine of their runs in the sixth inning, knocking around Texas A&M starter Michael Wacha, who came into the game with an ERA of 1.64.
Aside from Brown's huge day at the plate, sophomore Eric Garcia had a nice day, going 3-5 with two runs scored. Brannon Champagne also scored a pair of runs in the game, going 1-4 at the plate. Stites had a great start for Mizzou as well, matching his career-best in innings pitched with 8.0 while throwing 128 pitches. The only run that he allowed was a solo shot to left field by A&M catcher Kevin Gonzalez in the fifth inning. He also struck out eight batters, just one off of his career high, while walking just one.
But the story of the game was the sixth inning. Wacha was cruising against the Tigers, allowing just four base runners in the first five innings. The sixth inning started with a lead-off walk to Champagne and a single from Garcia, putting a pair of runners on base with no outs. But designated hitter Jonah Schmidt struck out looking, setting up a big spot for Brown. After just missing a home run off the top of the wall last night, the Tiger right fielder launched a three-run shot over the wall in left center, putting Mizzou up, 3-1. But that was just the beginning of the Tigers' huge inning.
Immediately following the home run, Jesse Santo
and Ben Turner
tallied back-to-back singles and Andrew Thigpen
reached base on an error by Aggie first baseman Jacob House. Santo scored on the error to make it 4-1. After a fly out by CJ Jarvis, the top of the order then came on to try and tack on some more insurance runs. Up 4-1, leadoff hitter Conner Mach
singled to drive in Turner and Champagne reached on a bunt, bringing up a bases-loaded spot for Garcia with the Tigers leading, 5-1. He sent a roller to second that was bobbled by the second baseman, allowing two more runs to come in, making the score 7-1. After a walk by Schmidt, Brown then singled to center, scoring two more runs and giving Mizzou the 9-1 lead. Brown had all five RBI in the sixth inning.
Stites went back out to pitch the seventh and eighth innings and put up two more scoreless frames. Reliver Dusty Ross then closed things out in the ninth, allowing no hits on just 12 pitches. Mizzou will look for the sweep of the sixth-ranked Aggies tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Taylor Stadium. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.